Patti’s Blog:  Education: Facts & Facets

I.  Operation Ariel
The Treasures of Teaching
And Why I Know You Want To Teach
But May Not Realize It Yet

Author, Patti Blide is a retired 36-year public school teacher
who has taught all grades
Third through Twelfth, completing her career as high school
Principal for Instruction

Dear Ariel,

This is your Grand Mom speaking. . . specifically to you.

Knowing that you are a whiz at the computer, I choose to “talk” to you via these monthly blogs.  I believe so strongly in the purpose of this blog that the writing of it will be pure fun and joy for me.   You, at the age of sixteen, and my only Grand Girl. are my absolute joy, as you are to others who know you.  Isn’t Life, great?


We will cover Two Points of Interest in this Blog

 - Why, Ariel as Teacher
- My Story as Teacher

- Why Ariel As Teacher

Ariel is a happy person
who loves life.

Ariel is thoughtful and kind to others           

Ariel is talented
intellectually, artistically,

Ariel loves to learn, try new ideas, share ideas

Therefore, Dear Ariel, it seems that you are a “natural” for the profession that awaits you:  Teaching.

My Story As Teacher

I, somehow just knew that I would be a teacher one day as explained in this little “biography” following below.   This biography is part of my write-up that aided my being chosen as Teacher of the Year in 1990 in Dallas Texas. 


On April 9, 1936, a teacher was born, most likely, teaching even in the womb.  That day in Washington, D.C. found Patti and twin Penny Blackledge entering this world as placenta partners destined to continue being roommates for the next 20 years.














































As to early “learnings” I learned that “indefatigable” and “tenacious” wereapt descriptors of “teacher.”  My mother was my model for each of these words.  Not until she was the mother of five, did she begin college where she tenaciously hung on to her dream of graduating when her twins did.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Houston the year (1958) twin Penny and I graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas.  She then earned her master’s degree in languages (she spoke five fluently), and was working on her Ph.D. when she sadly died of a heart attack.

 My father’s pride in his girls’ accomplishments was always a driving force in my life.  I had lived tenacity, cradled with love, through my parents and again at school as my elementary school teachers, working with my visual-learning problems (two eye surgeries), modeled the qualities that I would one day see as my own contribution to education.  Tenacity served me daily as a reading teacher knowing that every student can learn and can improve; from the learning disabled student, to the English as a second language student, to the college-bound reading student.  This assurance laid the ground work for the student’s positive self-image so vital in all walks of life.

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My secondary school life at Lamar High School in Houston, Texas gave me a master mentor teacher whom I think of frequently, especially, when I am “emoting.”  This science teacher had  obvious joy in being with us.  Likewise, we had so much fun being with him. . .and learning.  We did not just read about atoms smashing; we acted it out!  Yes, this man actually had us running into each other and then, verbalizing the resulting fission.  It was here that I learned the word, “joy” as it applies to teaching and to learning.

As a teacher, I impart “joy.”  As a reading teacher I have seen joy in the third grader’s eyes as a new effort brings “ah ha” understanding in the printed word.  I have heard joy in the whispered confessional of the secondary student who has rediscovered reading as peaceful retreat.  Further joy for me was to feel, give, and then watch students’ infusion of joy as a lifetime gift for us all.

It was at Rice University that several master mentors modeled my most valued lesson that was to serve me later as a valuable contribution to education.  It was modeled by my French professor who chose to eat lunch with us frequently, gently encouraging our practicing our French with him.  It was modeled by my creative writing professor who invited us to his home monthly where we sat on the floor in his living room around the fireplace hearing the critique of each other’s essay.  Here was where I learned the true meaning of the phrase, “reciprocal respect.”  We as students, were respected intellectually as equals.  And we did our best to live up to that respect.  Later, every student with whom I came in contact knew that he was respected as a person and as a fellow intellect.  We, as teachers do our best to live up to that respect as well as giving it to our students.

Next month’s Blog, Ariel, will give you my Philosophy of Teaching